Strange season that Toronto FC is having. Terrible in a lot of ways. But oddly successful in others.
Aron Winter’s men are off to a historically inept start, 0-8 in league competition. In a league that spins on an axis of parity, that’s about as bad any club can be without intentionally trying to tank it.
The club has won two competitive matches this year, and that’s the weird part. Both were in cup competitions running concurrently with league play. The Reds (somewhat) famously upset Los Angeles back in March in CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal play.
And then last week, Toronto took down Montreal in an Amway Canadian Championships semifinal contest.
So while the Vancouver Whitecaps certainly should be favored to claim the crown and the spoils from the teams’ two-legged final series – who knows? A spot in this year CONCACAF Champions League is there for the taking.
TFC captain Torsten Frings remained back in Toronto ahead of tonight’s opening leg in Vancouver, but high-quality Dutch forward Danny Koevermans is available for the first time since April 14.
For Toronto, tonight’s match probably represents the club’s sold opportunity at a 2012 trophy; they certainly don’t look anything like an MLS playoff side at the moment. The situation is different for Vancouver, as coach Martin Rennie told the Canadian Press. His club does, in fact, look like a team that could bloody some noses in the league playoffs. He sees a big-picture value of claiming the ACC prize from this home-and-away set.
“Nothing builds a winning culture like winning a trophy. We did that in the pre-season [with an exhibition tournament final victory over Toronto]. We’ve got to keep finding that winning feeling and make people get addicted to it and want it more.”